I have had the privilege of writing many messages for the most senior leaders in companies to share with their staff when announcing important changes.
It’s important to take great care with these messages and ensure we understand the change well, we know the audience and how this change will impact them, and lastly try and use words the leader is comfortable using.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much I’ve been able to influence leaders with their messages in relation to change and especially where there was the opportunity to include empathy and care for the impact the change would have on their people.
However, following the communications and engagement with staff, I’ve also had a front-row seat seeing the actions of these same supportive and empathetic leaders destroy people’s trust by completely contradicting their words with their actions.
Words matter, always, and at scale when communicating to many, the impact of actions contradicting the words used to communicate the change, comes at a high (yet often not directly visible) cost.
This doesn’t mean things can’t evolve and what you shared previously may no longer hold true, the key here is transparency… all it takes is providing your audience with an updated view of the world which aligns with the actions you need to take and most powerfully, why.
Trust can be broken in an instant, yet (re-) building it takes a long time of consistent action-taking. The impact of broken trust in companies is far reaching, but if fostered can be the foundation of great success.